The Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the Law stood up to test
Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is
written in the Law," Jesus replied, "How do you read it?" He answered: "Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength and with all your mind [Deut. 6:5] and love your neighbor as
yourself [Lev 19:18]." "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied, "Do
this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself and so he asked Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:25-29).
In reply to this question, Jesus told the parable of the
Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) the obvious point of which is that our
neighbor is anyone in need of our assistance. We all learned this point of the
story as children. But parables are
heavenly stories put into an earthly context where every character is symbolic
of someone or something else, and the Parable of the Good Samaritan is no
exception. Therefore we should also expect to find a glimpse of Heaven contained
there in. The word parable
literally means "to place along side" so the obvious "earthly" story has to be
accompanied by a hidden "heavenly" one.
Put another way, if the obvious story is the children's version then the
hidden one is the adult version of the story.
Let's find it.
Who Are The Samaritans?
First, a little background.
The Samaritans were the offspring of marriages between Jewish farmers
the Assyrians left behind when they conquered the Northern Kingdom in 721
BC and the pagans they re-located there.
Mixing up the conquered populations was standard procedure for the
Assyrians because it reduced the
threat of organized rebellion.
The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because of these mixed marriages and
because they had incorporated pagan rituals into their worship of God (both were
forbidden by Jewish law.) A
generation or so before the time of Jesus, a son of the Jewish High Priest had
run off and married the daughter of the King of Samaria, built a replica of the
Temple on Mt. Gerizim and instituted a rival worship system which caused a huge
scandal. In her encounter with Jesus
(John 4:4-42) the Samaritan "woman at the well" makes reference to this
The region called Samaria was named after the capital city
of the former Northern Kingdom and is located in what's known today as the West
Bank. Because their laws prohibit marrying outside their own, the Samaritan
population has dwindled to a point where only about 700 exist today. They're not
Palestinians, but they're not regarded as Jews either and keep pretty much to
themselves. Some have equated the Jews' treatment of Samaritans during the time
of Jesus with the southern whites' treatment of blacks in the 19th century in
the US, so to have a Samaritan as the hero of this story must have gotten the
attention of the Lord's audience right away. By the way, the ruins of the
Samaritan Temple were discovered about 10 years ago and are being excavated for
The old Jericho Road was a steep narrow passage along one
wall of a deep canyon. In the 17
miles from Jerusalem to Jericho, it dropped 3200 vertical feet through a rough
wilderness area fraught with danger from attacks by wild animals in the best of
times. In the Lord's day there was
also the threat of being attacked by robbers lurking in the rocks.
The Temple renovation was nearly complete and many workers had been laid
off. Having lost their source of
income, some turned to stealing to provide for their families.
The people were all too familiar with reports of violence there, and had
nicknamed this road Adumim, the Pass of Blood.
The area where the canyon opens up at the bottom, near Jericho, is
traditionally known as the valley of the Shadow of Death, from Psalm 23.
And Now, Back To Our Story
You know how the story goes. A man traveling along the old
Jericho Road is beset by robbers who strip him of his clothes, beat him and
leave him half dead. First a priest and then a Levite pass by, but simply cross
to the other side and ignore him. Then a Samaritan comes along. He comes to
where the man is, binds up his wounds applying oil and wine, and places him upon
his own donkey. He takes the man to a nearby inn and cares for him. The next day
he pays the man's present and future bill asking the innkeeper to look after him
and promising to pay any balance due when he returns. The two silver coins he
gave the innkeeper would have paid a man's hotel bill for up to 2 months in
So, understanding that there's supposed to be a glimpse of
Heaven here and that everyone in the parable is symbolic of someone else let's
look for the hidden meaning.
"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he
fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and
went away, leaving him half dead."(Luke 10:30)
The man was an ordinary person who represents you and me on
the road of life. Who it is that
would attack us, strip us of our clothing and leave us for dead? We know that
our spiritual covering is often referred to in terms of clothing. "All our
righteous works are as filthy rags," says Isaiah 64:6 whereas the
Lord clothes us with "garments of salvation" and "robes of righteousness" (Isaiah
61:10). So who would strip us of
our covering of righteousness and leave us spiritually dead? Only Satan, the
stealer of our soul.
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and
when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he
came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. (Luke
The priest and the Levite represent organized religion that
in and of itself is powerless to restore spiritual life and leaves us just as
dead as when it found us. The Lord had Isaiah say, "These people come near to
me with their mouth and honor me
with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made
up only of rules taught by men." (Isaiah 29:13) Jesus didn't come to
start another religion. He came so
that God could be reconciled to His creation, to restore peace between the two.
But sadly, in some parts of the Church, the rules of men still carry more
weight than the Word of God.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was;
and when he saw him, he took pity on him. (Luke 10:33)
And that leaves the Good Samaritan. Though despised and
rejected by His countrymen, He comes to where we are after we've been attacked
and beaten by our enemy, stripped of all our righteousness and left hopelessly
dead in our sins, beyond the ability of all our religious works to restore us to
He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil
and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took
care of him. (Luke 10:34)
He binds up our wounds (Isaiah 61:1), pours on oil
and wine, and carries us to a place of spiritual comfort where He personally
cares for us. Oil was used to aid in healing because of its
soothing and relaxing properties.
Applying it to the skin brings comfort. It represents the Holy Spirit,
our Comforter. Wine was an
antiseptic, a cleansing agent. It
symbolizes His blood, shed for the remission of sin.
At the moment of salvation we receive the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of
our inheritance and are washed clean in the
Blood of the Lamb. He
has taken up our infirmities and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4) and
will bring us to a place of comfort.
In Matt. 11:28 He said, "Come to me you who are weary and heavy
laden, and I will give you rest."
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them
to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will
reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' (Luke 10:35)
Before He left this earth He paid the debt of sin we owe to
God (represented by the innkeeper), entrusting us to His care.
Silver was the coin of redemption (Exod. 30:12-15) .
Please notice that He also accepted responsibility for all of our future
sins. We weren't just redeemed up to
the time we became believers, but for all of our lives. (Col. 2:13-14)
Good Samaritan could only be the Lord Jesus,
our Savior and our Redeemer.
And what did the man do to deserve all of this? Nothing.
He neither earned his rescue nor provided any contribution to his
restoration. It was a gift, a
manifestation of the grace in the Good Samaritan's heart.
And so it is with us. For
when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because
of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through
the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us
generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by
his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus
And now you know the adult version. 07-11-09